The Tiger Hunter

A shiny tale of immigration woes in 1979 Chicago.

The immigration of people with brown skin is a hot-button issue in the present, but many narrative films on the subject tend to look to the past. Rucha Humnabadkar’s recent For Here or to Go? was set in 2009, and Lena Khan’s new comedy The Tiger Hunter goes back another three decades, to 1979. Living in the shadow of his deceased, tiger-hunting father, the still-exalted hero of his Indian village, young engineer Sami (Danny Pudi) travels to Bilandic-era Chicago for a promised high-paying job. When that position falls through, Sami moves in Dukes of Hazzard obsessive Babu (Rizwan Manji) and several other Indian immigrants of varying kookiness, all while trying to climb back up the corporate ladder and impress the military-general father of his would-be fiancée Ruby (Karen Davi) back in his village.

Though it deals with dark themes, The Tiger Hunter is a shiny film down to its eye-candy production design, and a not-insignificant portion of the budget must have gone toward the teal paint that covers many surfaces. But the brightest point of The Tiger Hunter is Pudi, often the best thing in good television shows that either burned out (Community) or never quite caught fire (Powerless), finally getting a chance to shine as a leading man. He’s always worth hunting down.

The Tiger Hunter
Not rated.
Opens Friday.

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